The world is a much different place than it was 3 months ago. I went from a traveling SLP to a teletherapist like the rest of our field. It felt weird not getting in my car everyday and driving to all my clients each week. I had a tank of gas that lasted almost 3 weeks! For reference, I typically fill up 2-3x a week! It’s no secret I have not taken to teletherapy well. I have shared my thoughts and journey on my blog as well as on this podcast.
As strange as it felt to move everyone online, it’s even more strange to think I will be going back to traveling next week. There are a lot of unknowns. I don’t do well with unknown. The vast majority of my families are ready for me to come back to their homes. I gave each family the choice to stay online or move therapy back to in person. Surprisingly, most are ready for me to come back in! Texas has started opening back up. Each week, more businesses are able to open. When hair salons, nail salons and massage therapists started back to work, that’s when I started thinking about my process of going back in. I realize my decision to go back to face to face visits may be a bit controversial. This has been a hot button issue in several of the private practice Facebook groups I am.
Once I gathered all of my information, the decision to go back in was easy. But the procedures of going back in has been far more difficult. Mask or no mask? How will the kids react to a mask? I need to cut down on the amount of things I bring into the home. No sensory bins. No playdough. Limited toys that can easily be cleaned and sanitized. Do I have enough sanitizer? Some of my clients have agreed to in person therapy again as long as we conduct therapy outside like in the garage or porch. It will be June. Texas is known for their brutal summers. How do I dress professionally without sweating buckets in my scrubs? Do I have families sign waivers or liability forms? That should be a fun one to figure out.
How do I keep my clients, their families, myself, AND my family safe? Have you noticed I have asked a lot of questions during this podcast? The truth is until I get back going full speed I am not sure I am going to have any answers. I realize that just as much as each state varies in severity, so do the counties within those states. I live in a large rural county in Texas. When I started contemplating when I should go back to “regular business” (if you can call it that), I talked with healthcare professionals…the people that are dealing with this day in and day out. I talked it over with my husband. I lost sleep and overthought more than I have overthought in my life. That’s one of the characteristics of SLPs…we tend to overthink everything and every decision we make.
As I talked with families about the decision to return to face to face therapy, each one did not hesitate to answer. The truth is my families are ready to return to some sort of normalcy. The kids are tired of being at home. They are tired of not seeing anyone but the people that live in their house. The families are tired of not having any sort of a regular schedule. The video games have been played, Netflix is out of new releases and they’ve played with every toy they own.
I know that my basic day to day routine will be about the same as when I left at the end of March. It’s the logistics, procedures, and protocols that I am not sure of. But I know one is for sure…we will continue the air high 5’s and air hugs in order to keep everyone safe!